The Most Valuable Coping Skills For Long-Term Recovery

Addiction recovery is a lifelong process, but effective coping skills can make a world of a difference in the ease of your journey. The key to long-term recovery doesn’t just mean not using anymore, it also means making meaningful changes in your life that make it easier to not use. This means removing factors and triggers that contributed to your addiction and replacing them with healthy coping skills. Here are a few of the most valuable coping skills we recommend for a long-term recovery:

Learn How to Relax

Many people turn to drugs or alcohol in an attempt to relieve stress. There are many easier and healthier ways to effectively cope with stress and stay calm without relying on substances. Even if you stop using, you need to have a reliable way to relieve any tension in your life, otherwise you’ll likely relapse to deal with negative emotions tied to stress.

Practice Mindfulness or Meditation

Practicing mindfulness or meditation can help you work through and accept your thoughts and emotions to stay present in the moment. These skills will help you stay calm in any situation and can help you maintain self-control, improve your mental clarity and concentration, and reduce anxiety over time.

Develop a Support Network

Loneliness is another common cause of substance use disorder (SUD) that can affect your long-term recovery. Receiving good support is essential for your journey in recovery, especially from your peers who have been in your shoes and can offer practical ways to help you cope without judgement. Instead of reaching for drugs or alcohol when you’re feeling alone, reach out to your support network. This will make abstaining from your triggers easier and can often prevent a relapse.

Men sitting down on the ground

Keep Busy

Once you stop using drugs and alcohol, you’ll need an outlet to channel your emotions and keep your mind occupied. Now is the time to keep busy by developing new skills, focusing on your passion or hobbies, or even tackling a project you’ve been putting off for a long time. Replace your old unhealthy habits with new ones that will heal your mind and body.

Avoid High-Risk Situations

Developing new, healthy habits to take the place of your addictive substance is integral to a lifetime of recovery. There’s comfort in the familiar but learning to avoid your triggers is key in a long-term recovery. This means removing yourself from people, places, and any high-risk situations that threaten your sobriety.

Recognize H.A.L.T. Symptoms

Remembering the HALT acronym, which stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired, is a simple but effective approach in curbing self-destructive behaviors that occur with addiction. HALT serves as a warning sign or reminder to stop and assess if these symptoms are fueling your desire to use. Taking a moment to recognize these basic needs and fulfilling them naturally can prevent a relapse.

Exercise & Eat Well

Drug or alcohol use can take a toll on your physical health. It’s important to nourish yourself with meals full of the nutrients and vitamins your body needs to function properly and feel your best. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins that naturally make you feel good to keep your body healthy and happy. Healthy physical habits can play a huge role in improving your mental health, helping you stay sober.

Developing Skills for a Long-Term Recovery

In addition to learning proven coping skills, you also need to develop practical life skills to successfully lead a sober life. At Roots Recovery, our treatment for substance abuse includes helping you develop these essential life and coping skills you need for a lifetime of recovery. Learn more about our life skills training so you can take back control of your life and stay sober for good.